While we see some major actresses, Lauren Bacall in particular, star in film noir melodramas, Possessed would tend to be called a "weeper" by critics, because it attracted a mainly female audience, as opposed to the generally male audiences of the hard boiled detectives, from Sam Spade to Philip Marlowe. In other words, it would be fair to discount the "film noir" caption for Possessed, since it is (or was) basically a woman's picture.
One could see why some people consider Possessed a film noir, because it is dark- dark in the fact that a lot of the outdoor scenes are night scenes, as when Louise goes looking for "David." Film noir tends to be more concerned with the underworld, with men and women often just a bit over the line, morally and in terms of honesty. According to the World Dictionary (2005). Film noir is a genre of cynical, bleak films which originated in Hollywood during the 1940s and 1950s.As mentioned earlier, many of the scenes in the films were shot in shadows, depicting gloom and doom. Again, it is important top realize that none of the major characters in these films are totally black or white, but shades of gray, often disillusioned.
So, given this basic outline for film noir, it is difficult to consider Possessed as such a film. One other reason should me mentioned- films noir really didn't have a major star (Bogart was just beginning to become one when the archetype for film noir, The Maltese Falcon, was made). And yet, in Possessed, there was the Queen of Warner Brothers- Joan Crawford, howling her way through her madness. Women went to see the film because it was a "Crawford picture", not because of its downer subject matter. As Sennett (1971) points out about the film that he saw "the fleeting grande dame manner emerging often enough tp ma